On August 27, China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, Ministry of Science and Technology, Ministry of Ecology and Environment, Ministry of Commerce and State Administration for Market Regulation jointly issued the Measures on the Management of New Energy Vehicle Traction Battery Downcycling (新能源汽车动力蓄电池梯次利用管理办法; the “Measures”) to promote the recycling of new energy vehicle traction batteries, including those of electric cars. The aim is to advance comprehensive recycling and improve the quality of products using downcycled batteries.
The Measures encourage “downcycling companies” — companies producing products that reuse used traction batteries — to share information with manufacturers of new energy vehicles and traction batteries as well as companies dismantling and collecting end-of-life vehicles so that downcycling can be implemented efficiently.
“Downcycling” (梯次利用) refers to a set of processes needed to repurpose used traction batteries, namely, inspections, sorting, disassembly, repair and incorporation into other products with different uses. The Measures came into effect 30 days after publication.
On September 6, the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology released an explanatory document for the Measures to make their purposes clear. According to the document, traction batteries of end-of-life vehicles retain 70 to 80% of their original capacity. Using these batteries for energy storage, backup power supply, etc. at different phases of their lifecycle helps make the best use of the remaining capacity.
In China, traction battery downcycling is now mainly done by companies in coastal regions. The technology for traction battery disassembly, repacking and incorporation is relatively mature in these areas, and the technology to indicate remaining capacity of batteries and remotely monitor batteries also keeps improving. The government issued the Measures to establish a management system for the entire process of utilizing and recycling downcycled products, with the aim of making these companies better.
The Measures require downcycling companies to comply with the Industry Standards for Comprehensive Utilization of New Energy Vehicle Waste Traction Batteries (新能源汽车废旧动力蓄电池综合利用行业规范条件) and other rules.
Downcycling companies obtain cells from battery modules removed from waste traction battery packs they disassemble, and produce downcycled products for energy storage, backup power supply, etc. using these cells. They are encouraged to sell these products for use in businesses where products can be easily collected after use, such as leasing and large-scale use.
Downcycled products should have a structure easy to repair and disassemble and a design easy to recycle after being discarded. The Ministry of Industry and Information Technology and State Administration for Market Regulation have jointly created a self-certification system for downcycled products. Certified products are allowed to use the downcycled product certification mark.
The Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, Ministry of Science and Technology, Ministry of Ecology and Environment, Ministry of Commerce and State Administration for Market Regulation cooperate to supervise downcycling-related businesses.
The full text of the Measures (in simplified Chinese) is available on the website of the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology: